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Monthly Diversity Discussions

January 2023: Jewish Community & Antisemitism

The January Monthly Diversity Discussion focuses on the Jewish Community & Antisemitism. There has been an increase in disheartening experiences related to antisemitism and an increase in aggressive acts over the past two years. This is a topic that most people need additional education on to increase awareness and build inclusion. This discussion engages four panelists whose research focuses on Jewish Studies to discuss this topic.

February 2023: Black History Month: How to be Antiracist

Black History Month was created to focus attention on the contributions of African Americans to the United States. It honors all Black people from all periods of U.S. history, from the enslaved people first brought over from Africa in the early 17th century to African Americans living in the United States today. Race does not biologically exist yet is a social concept that influences our experiences and shapes our lives. Being antiracist means fighting against racism in all of its forms. This is how we can actively work to promote equity.

March 2023: Disability & Girlhood

The focus of the March Monthly Diversity Discussion was on the intersection of Disability & Girlhood. Dr. Anastasia Todd who is an assistant professor of Gender and Women’s Studies here at the University of Kentucky will join us. Dr. Todd’s research focuses on feminist disability studies and girlhood studies. They have a forthcoming book titled, Cripping Girlhood (University of Michigan Press), which is a winner of the 2022 Tobin Siebers Prize for Disability Studies in the Humanities. They have been published in Disability Studies Quarterly, Girlhood Studies, and Transformations: The Journal of Inclusive Scholarship and Pedagogy. Dr. Todd also teaches courses in feminist theory, disability studies, and affect theory. Join us an learn more about the intersectionality of Disability & Girlhood.

April 2023: Critical Conversations: The Power of Storytelling

Individuals understanding their identities is important for a number of reasons. Understanding your own identity increases self-awareness and helps gain a deeper understanding of who you are and what motivates you. It also helps you develop empathy and compassion towards yourself and people who have different identities than what you may have. This helps build relationships and gives skills to navigate social and cultural contexts more effectively. This also leads to building a more inclusive community here at the Human Development Institute by recognizing that diverse identities exist and ensuring a welcoming environment. This contributes to our commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion by understanding systems of oppression, finding ways to interrupt this, and finding how identities intersect with one another. This event took place at Coldstream.

May 2023: Building Inclusive Excellence

Inclusive excellence refers to the framework for creating and sustaining a diverse, equitable, and inclusive community. The goal of inclusive excellence is to ensure that all individuals, regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, or other identities, feel valued, respected, supported, and have equal access to both opportunities and resources. Inclusive excellence emphasizes the importance of diversity and equity while recognizing that simply having diverse individuals is not enough to create truly inclusive environments. Inclusive culture requires intentional efforts to promote inclusion, eliminate barriers, create opportunities, and foster belonging. Join this conversation with Dr. Cristia Brown, Professor and Associate Dean of Inclusive Excellence for the Psychology Department at the University of Kentucky. This is an opportunity to learn practical approaches to prioritize inclusive excellence and create a more equitable and just society.

June 2023: Allyship & Advocacy

The June Monthly Diversity Discussion is titled “Allyship & Advocacy: How to Support the LGBTQ+ Community”. By attending this program, participants developed a better understanding of what LGBTQ+ adults are experiencing in this current climate we are living in. Attendees are also more likely to challenge bias, discrimination, or personal beliefs they previously held prior to attending this session. Participants gained practical knowledge and constructive skills that encourage them to advocate for individuals with marginalized identities in the spaces that they occupy and, in the spaces where that marginalized identity is absent.  Finally, this event increased attendees’ sense of connection and gave them a better understanding of people with identities that may differ from theirs.

July 2023: Amplifying Inclusion: Working with ASL Interpreters and the Deaf & Hard of Hearing Community

The July Monthly Diversity Discussion is an informative presentation with two American Sign Language Interpreters, Virginia Silvestri and Tia Henson. This presentation is an opportunity to have a better understanding of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing community. Attendees will also have an opportunity to learn best practices and protocols when working with this population and with ASL interpreters.

August 2023: Understanding Disability Across the Lifespan

Our August Monthly Diversity Discussion is titled “Learning Never Retires: Understanding Disability Across the Lifespan.” The Human Development Institute’s very own, Dr. Harold Kleinert joined in this discussion. By joining this presentation, attendees gained a better understanding of the concept of disability as it evolves across the lifespan and identified the various types of disabilities that are encountered in the later stages of life. We also examined the role of societal attitudes and expectations in shaping the experiences of individuals later in life.

September 2023: Microaggression – Macroimpact

Microaggressions are subtle, often unintentional, verbal, or nonverbal behaviors that communicate negative messages to individuals based on their marginalized identities, such as sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, gender, or disability. Microaggressions are common in the workplace and can significantly impact mental health, well-being, and sense of belonging. Attendees at this presentation gained a deeper understanding of microaggressions, ways to foster inclusivity, and both their personal and professional development was promoted. Together, we can combat microaggressions and build a more inclusive environment for all.

October 2023: Mental Health Matters

Our October Monthly Diversity Discussion is titled “Mental Health Matters.” This presentation sheds light on the critical importance of mental health in our own lives and in the lives of individuals we work with. This event is an engaging discussion with Dr. Aesha Uqdah who is Associate Vice President of Health & Well-Being at the University of Richmond.

November 2023: Diversity Dialogue: Exploring Perspectives

Our November Monthly Diversity Discussion is titled “Diversity Dialogue: Exploring Perspectives.”  Colleagues from the Human Development Institute were able to join in discussion to share experiences, promote inclusivity, and foster personal growth. This discussion was an opportunity for HDI employees to reflect on their own experiences and critically discuss diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility. By attending this event, participants promoted inclusion, fostered a sense of belonging, enhanced awareness, and improved communication with colleagues across the Human Development Institute. This discussion was facilitated by members of the DEI Committee here at the Human Development Institute.  

January 2024: Breaking Through Burnout

Start the new semester and the New Year off with a plan by attending this session focused on “Breaking Through Burnout,” on Wednesday, January 3rd at 1pm via Zoom. Attendees joining this workshop can learn more about burnout, preventative strategies to manage stress, ways to set goals for a healthy work-life balance, develop resilience, and create a more supportive environment here at the Human Development Institute. Join this session to actively engage and learn more about creating plans to overcome burnout.